HORNY MONK: 77 Points
This Belgian Dubbel is available year-round in 16 oz. cans.
Brewer’s Description: “A deep reddish, malty, and complex Belgian style ale. Six different types of malted barley, Belgian candied syrup and Belgian yeast are combined to produce a very smooth, complex and slightly sweet ale.”
My Description: Perhaps this monk should have been more disciplined and put his animal urges to the side and focused more on the beer. It begins with a weak, light beige colored head that fades to a film holding for a few minutes and leaving behind no lacing. The aroma is dominated by sweet caramel malt notes along with hints of dark fruits and yeast phenols. Horny Monk is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. I feel the texture and body of this beer upfront are correct but it thins out in the finish. The flavor profile follows the nose with caramel malt notes being the backbone of the beer along with hints of yeast phenols and sugar. Dark fruit notes like dates are detected along with ripe bananas. The aftertaste shows no bitterness with a slight metallic hint. Overall, this ale has a decent balance of flavors but falls short of delighting the senses, however it is easy drinking and alcohol is completely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with beef stew, baked ham, or stuffing.
ABV: 6.9% Color: Reddish/Copper Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1/10
DUBBEL BRUIN: 90 Points
Clean flavor notes
This Belgian Dubbel is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Petrus Double Brown Ale is a top-fermented dark beer. Brewed with pure spring water and carefully selected hops and malts. The dark beer with its subtle and slightly caramelized flavour is preferably served cool.”
My Description: This is not the boldest Dubbel but it is flavorful and enjoyable. It begins with a decent, beige colored head that fades to a thin film leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is pleasant with notes of plums, raisins, caramel malt, and ripe bananas. Dubbel Bruin is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty and clean with a big malt backbone holding up notes of plums and other dark fruits, brown sugar, and bread. The aftertaste is minimally bitter with lingering sweet notes. The body is thinner than I would have liked but overall this is an easy drinking beer and a nice presentation of the style. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate truffles or a roasted duck with raspberry sauce.
ABV: 6.5% Color: Muddy Brown/Mahogany Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
DUBBELICIOUS: 87 Points
This Belgian Dubbel is a limited release in 16 oz. cans.
Brewer’s Description: “Dark and Caramel malts and a high temperature fermentation produce a mahogany pour with aromas of plum and raisin and a rich nutty finish.”
My Description: For a local Dubbel, this is a nice choice but nothing that I would write home about. It begins with an extremely weak head that fades away quickly leaving behind no lacing. The aroma is mild with some subtle earthy notes and a hint of toffee; there really isn’t too much going on. Dubbelicious is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is satisfying and slightly complex. Caramel malt builds the backbone here with notes of dark fruits but not one specific fruit stands out, it’s more of a collage of dark fruits. Some medicinal notes and a hint of roasted malt are present and overall this beer is more on the sweeter side. The finish is smooth and I think this is a good representation of the style. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with beef brisket, baked duck, or chocolate cake.
ABV: 6.5% Color: Mahogany Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
VALAR MORGHULIS: 94 Points
This Abbey Style Dubbel is released for a limited time before the release of Game of Thrones Season 5 in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “The phrase is a part of a strong theme speckled throughout HBO’s fourth season, which started airing in March. As Arya Stark sets out to avenge those who have fallen, she adopts it as a mantra against the people she wants dead. The label art features a two-headed coin, which was given to Arya by Jagen H’ghar, one of the “Faceless Men of Braavos” assassins who can change their appearance on demand. Each cork is fire-branded with “Valar Dohaeris,” the traditional response phrase to “Valar Morghulis” meaning “all men must die.”
My Description: Nothing like sweet revenge. With this beer’s strong presence, a sweeter flavor profile, and a smooth body, it is a great choice to delight in the misery of others. It begins with a very large, beige colored head with an amazing retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is fruit forward with notes of plums, raisins, and red apples. Crystal malts and some sweetness are also present. Valar is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A good malt backbone and yeast spice undertones set a great foundation for the flavor profile. Similar to the aroma, fruits dominate; raisins and faint cherry notes are accompanied by hints of red apple and plums. Some herbal notes are present in the finish and licorice can also be picked up. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is minimally bitter keeping this beer on the sweeter side. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, strong cheeses, or raspberry cheesecake.
ABV: 8% Color: Amber/Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
LOST & FOUND: 95 Points
Aren’t we all
This Abbey Style Dubbel is available year-round in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Lost and Found- Modeled after the great Trappist and Monastic beers that inspired the founding of our brewery. A richly deep garnet colored ale created from a blend of Domestic and imported malts. As part of our commitment to interesting brewing endeavors, Chef Vince created a special raisin puree for this beer. Malts, raisins and a fantastic yeast strain working in harmony produce a beer of amazing complexity and depth. Available in 750ml bottles and on draft at select inspired locations.”
My Description: A smooth and flavorful Belgian Ale, this beer should be sipped slowly to allow all the flavors to develop as the beer warms. It pours a large and fluffy, tan colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is slightly complex with dark fruit notes dominating such as raisins and figs. There are also scent notes of candi sugar and a touch of alcohol. Lost & Found is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is also dark fruit dominate with notes of tart cherries immediately noticed along with raisins, it tastes almost juicy-like. There are also notes of yeast spices, caramel malt, and hints of candy. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is minimally bitter. I enjoyed this ale greatly and it rivals many of the Belgian born Dubbels. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled pork chops, dark chocolate, or strong cheeses.
ABV: 8% Color: Mahogany/Garnet Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
DUBBEL: 91 Points
Taste the Silence
This Belgian Dubbel is available year-round in 330 ml. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “La Trappe Dubbel has a deep brown colour and attractive beige froth. The use of caramel malt gives it a gentle aromatic caramelised quality. It has a rich malty flavour with a touch of sweetness. Post-fermenting La Trappe Dubbel is a smooth drink, and yet has some real body and intense flavour to it.”
My Description: This is a complex beer with great fruit notes and an extremely smooth body. It begins with a good sized, tan colored head that lasts for some time leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma smells nice with notes of raisins, sugar, bread, malt, yeast spices, and a hint of wood. Dubbel is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A nicely balanced flavor profile begins with a malty backbone holding up tasty notes of ripe dark fruits like raisins and plums along with red cherries. Some yeast spice notes add a welcoming flavor component and the alcohol is nicely hidden behind the plethora of fruit notes. The aftertaste is minimally bitter with some lingering spice notes. This beer is more on the sweeter side as it correct to the style and a pleasure to drink. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, grilled lamb chops, or dark chocolate.
ABV: 7% Color: Mahogany Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10
BORNEM DUBBEL: 85 Points
This Abbey Style Dubbel is available year round in 330 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Bornem double is a “lively” abbey beer that, after its first fermentation in the barrel, nicely evolves during its second fermentation in the bottle or in the barrel. Soft as velvet, this double with warm darkbrown colour and burgundy undertones has a fruity taste and hoppy after taste. Its creamy, rich and firm foam head crowns it. Few other dark doubles can match this BORNEM DOUBLE.”
My Description: A satisfying and enjoyable Dubbel, this beer is a good representation of the style. It pours a large, light beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a wall of lacing, real nice. The aroma is malt forward and somewhat sweet with dark fruit notes such as raisins and figs with a touch of chocolate. This ale is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely with a strong malt backbone holding up notes of toffee, raisins, and chocolate. Some roasted notes can be detected and the alcohol is nicely hidden. At times, the beer tastes thin and it feels like it lacks some depth but overall this is an easy drinking Abbey Dubbel that I wouldn’t say no to. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with blood sausage, grilled venison, or potent cheeses.
ABV: 8% Color: Brown/Red Edges Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
BRUNE: 90 Points
This Belgian Dubbel is available year-round in 330 ml. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This brown ale has a marked ruby brown colour with a generous and lasting head. It has a distinctive aroma reflecting the wide range of ingredients used in its production. The fruitiness resulting from its fermentation blends harmoniously with a dominant liquorice and caramel flavour. The body is decidedly malty. The bitterness is the result of a complex alchemy between the fine hops and special malts used. These give St Feuillien Brune a typical dark chocolate appearance.”
My Description: St. Feuillien presents a respectable Belgian Dubbel that makes for a nice sipper on a cool night. It has a good sized, beige colored head that fades to a film and holds for most of the way leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is port-like and complex with tons of dark fruit notes, malt, and hints of spice. Brune is full bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile shares some of the complexities of the aroma. Subdued dark fruit notes float on top of a deep malt backbone. Hints of raisins, licorice, and biscuit appear throughout with a semi-sweet caramel finish. The alcohol is nicely hidden and overall this beer is satisfying. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, cedar plank salmon, or chocolate desserts.
ABV: 8.5% Color: Deep Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10
MAUDITE: 89 Points
This Dubbel is available year round in the U.S with a shelf life of 5-8 years. It has an IBU of 22 and a SRM of 18.
Brewer’s Description: “Malt, orange, wild spices with fragrances of coriander and cloves and floral hop notes. Characterized by a robust maltiness and spiciness that is counterbalanced by an assertive crisp hop finish.”
My Description: This is a nicely done dubbel. It starts with a dense and foamy beige colored head that slims down considerably but does remain throughout. The lacing is pretty good but its not caked on. The aroma is warming and enticing; it is sweet with notes of malt with some spice and coriander. The taste really matches up nicely with the description. You will initially taste the malt that is accompanied by a nice spice blend. The aftertaste is where you will pick up on the hops but it is not an overpowering bitter flavor but more of a subtle and mild bitterness. This is a nicely done dubbel. I suggest serving this around 50°F. It will pair well with pastas, chocolate desserts, or fine cheeses.
ABV: 8% Color: Reddish Brown Sweetness: 6/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
DUBBEL: 95 Points
Dubbel the Enjoyment
This Belgian Style Dubble is available year-round.
Brewer’s Description: “The cream-colored foam collar smells of special malt and leaves a nice pattern in the glass. The flavor is rich and complex, spicy and fruity with a bitter-fresh finish. It is a balanced quality beer with a soft mouthfeel and a long, dry finish.”
My Description: I really enjoyed this Dubble, it has a slightly higher bitterness level than other Trappist Dubbels, which is nice because it gives the bitter lovers a great beer to drink. It has a good sized tan colored head that retains well. The aroma is on the sweeter side with fragrant notes of Belgian yeast, dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol. It is medium/full bodied with a higher carbonation level. Up front you will taste the sweet caramel notes as well some dark fruit flavors like figs, there is also some malt presence as well. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a touch of spice and a hint of alcohol. Overall, the beer is balanced and delicious. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, lamb chops, or cedar plank salmon.
ABV: 7% Color: Hazy Brown/Red Sweetness: 4/10 Bitterness: 3/10
ROCHEFORT 8: 100 Points
Thank God for monks
This Belgian style Dubbel Abbey Ale is available year-round in limited supply in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: Belgian Ale
My Description: This is Rochefort’s most popular beer and it is clear why. This beer is on its own level of greatness and quality. These monks have been passing down their knowledge in secret for hundreds of years and they have mastered brewing. This beer has a nice sized bubbly/fluffy head that has great retention with decent lacing. The aroma is slightly sweet with notes of dark fruit and yeast. The taste of this beer is amazing. It has flavors of dark fruit, raisins, with a hint of spice. It is bisquity and sweet. There is a lot going on but they all work together in perfect harmony to make you wish you had a second bottle. It has a minor alcohol hint with a slightly higher carbonation level. I cannot say anymore, you must drink this beer to find out for yourself. It is best served around 50°F. Enjoy!
ABV: 9.2% Color: Hazy Brown Sweetness: 4.5/10 Bitterness: 1/10
CHIMAY PREMIÉRE (RED): 95 Points
The Original Chimay
Chimay Red was the first beer brewed at the Chimay brewery in 1862, it’s current recipe dates from the late 1940’s. It is available year-round in 330 ml. bottles or 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This Trappist beer possesses a beautiful coppery colour that makes it particularly attractive. Topped with a creamy head, it gives off a slight fruity apricot smell from the fermentation. The aroma felt in the mouth is a balance confirming the fruit nuances revealed to the sense of smell. This traditional Belgian beer is best savoured at cellar temperature.”
My Description: Chimay Red is the flagship beer of this company and there is nothing wrong with that, it tastes delicious. It has a grand off-white colored head that holds forever, giving you a great head all the way to the last sip producing minimal lacing. The aroma is fresh with the scent of malt, yeast esters, sweet fruits like apricots and white raisins, and a little breadiness. The beer is medium bodied with a medium carbonation level that coats your mouth and is very smooth and complex. The front of your mouth will taste a nice sweet base with flavor notes of honey, apricots, some yeast, and a slight hint of alcohol. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a hint of sourness and dark fruit. Overall, this beer is delicious and the flavors work really well together. It is best served around 52°F and pairs nicely with mild cheeses, dark chocolate, or roasted duck.
ABV: 7% Color: Brown/Copper Sweetness: 4/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
PRIOR 8: 92 Points
This Dubbel is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This noble delicious beer with a high fermentation has a ruby purple colour with a full malty and fruity taste. This beer has a beautiful round froth due to the second fermentation with a taste that creates a perfect balance between sweet and sour.”
My Description: Prior 8 would make a great dessert beer or one that you should sip while enjoying the fire. It has a decent, light tan colored head that fades to a film quick but holds the rest of the way. The aroma smells fresh with fragrant notes of grain, sweet caramel malt, and dark fruits like plums and raisins. It is medium/full bodied with a higher carbonation level and a crisp finish. Up front you will taste complex flavors of dark fruits like cherry and plum, a malty sweetness, and candi sugar. The alcohol is apparent and you will taste and feel it. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a touch of clove. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with dark chocolate, roasted duck, or cherry pie.
ABV: 8% Color: Dark Brown/Purple Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
PATER 6: 95 Points
You’ll smile like the monk
This Dubbel is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This name became a reference. This beer is mostly pointed out with its product name: “a Paterke”. This “Paterke” is a chestnut coloured dark beer with a high fermentation and a full taste.”
My Description: This Dubbel is nothing short of heavenly; it’s a perfect representation of the style, it has a delicious taste, and it makes you wish you bought a case. It has a good sized milky head that is off-white in color. The level of retention is marvelous as well as the lacing that is left behind for a Dubbel. The aroma has a nice Belgian dark candi base with notes of caramel malt, dates, raisins, and other dark fruits. It is roughly medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a crisp, semi-dry finish. Up front the flavors include some malty sweetness, almost bisquity, and some dark fruits like raisins. The alcohol is slightly warming and the flavor is nicely hidden. The aftertaste has a nice and subtle spice note with a hint of bitterness. The beer has a creamy texture and really enjoyable. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with strawberry cheesecake, rosemary lamb chops, or juicy beef tips.
ABV: 6.7% Color: Hazy Brown/Red Hues Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
ÓVILA DUBBEL: 97 Points
This Belgian Dubbel is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and The Abbey of New Clairvaux. It was released in March, 2011 in 750 ml. bottles. A portion of the sales goes towards restoring the Santa Maria de Óvila chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux.
Brewer’s Description: “Óvila Abbey Dubbel features a complex and rich malty sweetness with hints of caramelized sugar. The aroma is a heady and layered mix of fruit and spice with hints of clove and black pepper from the unique Belgian-style yeast.”
My Description: This is a well done dubbel, I’ve tried several dubbels and this definitely competes with the best, including the Trappist Dubbel’s. The head is dense and foamy with an off-white color. The head produces minimal lacing but does leave a film on top of the beer for around 15-20 minutes. The aroma is mild, sweet, pleasant, and smells fresh with notes of spices. Once you start drinking this ale is when you really understand why it is rated as high as it is. First off, dubbels were originally created for monks to drink during fasting so they could get their nutrients and fill their bellies. Well this beer lives up to tradition, it is medium to heavy bodied and you can substitute this for a meal, if you drink the whole bottle which I did; it is easy to do so because this beer is delicious. I began drinking this around 40°F, which is a good place to start, and I immediately noticed the sweet malty taste which is accompanied by a spicy/black pepper aftertaste which is crisp and refreshing. The body is smooth and I could not pick up a hint of alcohol which goes to show the quality of this ale. As the beer warms, a more roasted malt flavor develops which gives this dubbel an almost bread-like flavor and body. This is so good, I enjoyed it the same from when the cork popped to the last sip. This bottle is around $12-$14.
ABV: 7.5% Color: Medium Brown/Red Tint Sweetness: 5.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
PERE JACQUES (2011): 95 POINTS
Goose Island’s Dubbel
Part of their Vintage Series, this Belgian Dubbel is released in limited quantities in 12 oz. and 650 ml bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Brewed with loads of malt and Belgian yeast, Pere Jacques is a wonderfully fruity, malty ale. Pere Jacques’ complex flavors stand shoulder to shoulder with the Belgian Dubbels enjoyed in the world’s finest beer bars.”
My Description: Whoever says that Belgians are the only ones that make great Dubbels have never tasted this. This Dubbel tastes spot on with the style and it gets better as it ages. However, it has a sub par head with very little retention and hardly any lacing. The aroma makes up for it with beautiful fragrant notes of caramel, malt, and dark fruits like raisins. It is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-sweet finish. Up front you will immediately notice the big malty taste that is accompanied by dark fruit flavors like raisins and plums. You may feel the alcohol but the taste is nicely hidden behind the smooth body. This beer will coat you mouth giving you a lingering enjoyment. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with lamb chops, chocolate desserts, or gourmet cheeses.
ABV: 8% Color: Brownish/Red Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10